Homegrown Player

Stuart Hawkins continues to shine in recent USYNT camp, USOC matches

stuart hawkins 6.18

Sounders center back Stuart Hawkins continues to rise through the ranks of the United States Youth National Team program after representing the U-19’s at a camp and a pair of friendlies in South America in early June.

“It was a good experience, I was happy to be there, and hopefully I made an impression with the coaches,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins had previously participated with the U.S. U-16 and U-17 age groups where he most notably had the opportunity to compete in the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup. This recent call-up was the first time he was invited to the U-19 level.

“For Stuart, going to an international camp with the U.S. two years up is a big step for him,” said Sounders FC Technical Director Henry Brauner. “He's only played in on-age national team games, so I think this is his first camp where he's been pushed probably outside of his comfort zone…It's good for him.”

This past year has been monumental for Hawkins in terms of his soccer career. Not only did he sign as a Homegrown Player with the Sounders First Team at only 16 years old in September and made starts in two 2024 Open Cup matches, his consistent appearances and standout performances with the U.S. Youth National Teams earned him the opportunity to face top, global talent from an older age group.

“Stuart has grown so much,” said Assistant Coach Andy Rose. “He's worked so hard and tirelessly in the gym and he’s such an intelligent footballer.”

He added, “There are so many parts of his game that are really exciting, and he just needs to continue to keep working to keep his head down and he'll keep getting opportunities like this.”

The Sounders coaching staff describe him as a “modern day” center back. Whether it be his ability to advance the ball on the dribble and the pass, his vision on the pitch to find second line and third line passes, or his overall aptness to stabilize possession, Hawkins is on the path to becoming a vital piece to the Sounders’ backline.

“For any coach, anybody that's a little bit more progressive with their possession, likes to build, likes to play through each of the phases, he's a player that you almost need to have,” said Brauner. “When he's playing as a center back, you're almost getting a center midfielder’s profile back there.”

Since Hawkins’ arrival to the Sounders Discovery Program in 2020, his future in the game looked promising. From playing in the Academy, competing at the professional level with Tacoma Defiance, to now rostering with the First Team and getting U-19 USNT call-ups, the sky’s the limit for the Homegrown Player.

“Since I came in 2022, he was kind of somebody that people spoke about a little bit and the excitement for what could be,” said Rose. “And the more often he gets to train with the First Team and just be in our environment, you can see small moments of development that are really exciting for a coach to witness.”

The expectation for the Homegrown Player is not for him to look too far ahead, but to take it day by day. As a young player especially, the hope is that he remains available and healthy, and appreciates the small wins, all while forming beneficial habits on and off the pitch.

“There's no doubt I think he realizes that there could be a really exciting future for him and he just needs to continue on the trajectory he's on,” said Rose. “It's always going to be a little bit of a roller coaster trying to make it in this game and so [it’s about] ensuring he's listening to the right people, doing the right things off the field, and he's going to continue to learn and develop.”

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